Ishaq Oloyede, Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) registrar; Jerry Mallo, CEO of Bennie Technologies; and Tayo Osunkoya, a professional diver, aired their views on the subject.
When asked if he believes university education is compulsory, Oloyede said: “Should all of us go to the university? The answer to me is no. These children will go to the university and end up not benefiting from university education but they could do some other things, they could be better not going to the university.
“The system itself needs to be addressed. In UK today, if one is a plumber, he could earn as much as somebody who is a professor if not more. He is fulfilled, he doesn’t need to be what he’s not because the system allows him to grow within his own path.”
On his part, Mallo told the story of how he became an inventor without a university degree.
He explained how he went from not writing the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to dropping out of university in the UK after being sponsored by a Nigerian professor and then going on to become a successful inventor.
“When my mates were writing post-UTME, I went to learn roadside mechanic work. I wanted to learn how the machines work,” he said.
“I endured to finish my first year in the university with a very poor grade. It was very bad for me, I spent the night time crying. After a year, I just felt the classroom was not for me.
“I thought to myself, if you’re looking to start a company, no one asks you for a certificate. It’s only when you want a job that they ask for a certificate. I never wanted a job. I wanted to create jobs.
“I asked myself, I spent a lot of hours trying to learn the theoretical aspect and still failed. What would happen if I spent those hours on the things I’m good at? So I picked that as a challenge.”
Osunkoya, who abandoned stockbroking to become a diver, explained that he was not deriving fulfillment from his job in the corporate world.
“I was not gaining any satisfaction from what I was doing. So, in 1999, I decided to do something special. I didn’t know any divers and there was no diving school in Nigeria. But I knew this was something I wanted to do,” he said.